Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/360

This page needs to be proofread.

356 Southern Historical Society Papers.

RICHMOND, VA., January 79, f8o8.

COLONEL ROBERT I. FLEMING, President Confederate

Veterans' Association, Washington, D. C.:

R. E. Lee Camp, Confederate Veterans, reciprocates your kindly greeting, and pledges eternal fidelity to the memory of our illustrious chieftain.

A. C. PEAY, Lieutenant- Commander, Commanding.


Captain Parks was then introduced as the orator of the evening, and was cordially received. After an appropriate introduction, he said :

Borne on the rapid, tireless wings of time, nearly thirty-three years have passed since guns were stacked, flags were furled, and the Southern soldier, with heavy heart, turned his steps homeward. But with every recurring spring time, the people throughout the Southland, upon such days and at such places as may be fixed, meet together, strew the graves of the dead soldiers with flowers, each feeling that whatever part he may perform, he is engaged in a work made obligatory by a lofty sense of patriotism. Associations of va- rious names have been formed, all of which have for their object the commemoration of the Confederate dead, and the keeping green in the minds of the rising generation all that pertains to the struggle in which the blood of the South was poured out like water. Here we meet to-day in the far-famed city of Richmond, whose every street has been trodden by armed men, whose adjacent fields have been crimsoned by the blood of her sons, and whose historic hills have echoed and re-echoed with the scream of shot and shell as they sped on their mission of death, mingled with the shout of victory, or the yell of defiance.


How suggestive such an occasion. These gatherings of the people of the South to decorate the graves of those who died in defence of the Southern cause, and to commemorate the deeds of valor of an army whose banners went down in an unsuccessful struggle, constitute the sublimest and yet most remarkable spectacle that the world has ever seen. Were these men rebels against constitutional govern-